Analogue Switch-off. Your views?

Between now and 2012, the UK has to “go digital”. The extra choice is great, and more and more people are switching. But is it all good news? Are you happy with the switch-off of analogue telly? Should we wait till we’re ready, or plough ahead?

We have a new pages of notes at www.frequencycast.co.uk/analogueswitchoff.html

We’re also asking for your votes via this page… as well as your comments here on our blog – for possible inclusion in a future show…

24 comments

  • Michaelf

    I have embraced the digital age, with D.A.B. and satellite TV and the addition of Freeview boxes in the bedrooms of the B&B I run down here in Cornwall, which is due to be one of the earliest areas to switch over, in 2009.

    It is only since doing all this that I have seen the horrendous future that lies in wait when this enforced switchover takes place.

    For Freeview television, unless the signal is improved enormously, it is going to mean unwatchable programmes during certain weather conditions and for radio, if that happens, it will mean being unable to listen in most parts of the house.

    At the moment, the freeview signal is fine on cloudy, dull days. But as soon as we get high pressure the digital signal breaks up and the picture fragments in horizontal blocks. At the same time, the analogue picture remains crystal clear. Is this how it’s going to be after the switchover? Is there any part of the country where the signal is supposed to be strong enough to counter this problem?

    My fear is that the country will only wake up to what has happened after the switchover takes place and that millions of pounds in our taxes and licence fees will have bene poured into an unworkable system.

    Radio is even worse, with the signal varying enormously in just a few feet. I have just bought a personal DAB radio and at the top of my garden it picks up 33 stations. Move further down and they drop off one by one and inside the house it picks up none at all, except right by the kitchen window. What a total shambles!

    I listen to Radio 5 through AM still and all the time get bombarded by jingles proclaiming “on D.A.B radio, on digital television and on-line” without any mention of the only service that works in many places -AM. This is all part of the BBC’s obsession with digital broadcasting even though the executives must go home and realise the signal just doesn’t work in many places.

    Like yourselves, I welcome the choice given by Digital television. I could not live without the horse racing, football and other sport I watch through Sky but the enforced switch off of the analogue system is the biggest confidence trick played on the British public.

    I cannot see why we cannot continue with both services and at a time when we are all minded about the environment the extra power being used to run these boxes and the enormous impact of the dumping of millions of out of date TVs is totally wrong and unacceptable. For radio, the impact is also there with these devices being extremely power wasteful, using batteries at an alarming rate.

    There, that’s my rant on the subject!

  • Vera

    Hi Michalf,
    at last someone saying something i can agree with!!
    i live in Devon and since i discovered how much more digital is going to cost us, i have been horrified at how many people /organisations just don’t want to know.
    most important in your comment was the enormous rate that your radio battery is being used up. i found out the difference between the power consumed by analogue and that used by digital when my children bought me a wind-up DAB/analogue radio. If it is wound up for 60 seconds it gives you one hour of analogue radio time but only 3-5 minutes of digital time!
    I think the Maths means this is costing at least 12 times as much – 1200%??
    i would love to be proved wron. The only comments i had so far (from my MP)is the amount that will be wasted by leaving tvs on stand by . . – what about the actual amount of electricity consumed to just listen to the radio – never mind TV costs!
    I would love to know if you, or anyone in Cumbria, has/have noticed any difference in your bills?

    What annoys me is people bang on about how much a light bulb uses?
    but the potential waste of energy involved in this switch over is enormous.
    it must be the worst ‘green’ issue ever – the whole country going through this waste.

    i want to smash that patronising little robots head in – appearing on TV every night. it’s telling you you’ve got to change your Video recorder now.

    Must go now but am not finished ranting.

    Ve
    P.S They will tell you that all will be well when the analogue signal is switched off – but no-one has any proof of this

  • Lynne Read

    I’ve just bought two DAB clock radios, after returning the analogue ones purchased last week (on my husband’s instructions). Only to find that DAB is not yet available in our area!!!

    How frustrating is this. Now do I return these two (more expensive) radios and buy the analogue versions, only to find that they won’t work once the switch-off occurs? Or hang on to the non-working at present DAB radios, in the hope that one day our area will be included? Or return the radios and wait, at least I shall have a worthwhile guarantee, and in the meantime no radio to wake up to?

    Either get on and do the job and provide us with a service that is usable, or leave well alone. It was good enough for my grannie, so for heaven’s sake stop worrying about what else you (the government) can do with all this extra space on the unused analogue lines or wires or whatever they are.

  • Corin

    Does anybody see a pattern here, which the UKofGB&NI is just as usual, at the back of the pack?

    According to Wikipedia:

    The EU recommended in December 2005 that its Member States cease all analogue television transmissions by the year 2012

    Andorra

    Analog terrestrial television was switched off on September 25th, 2007.

    Finland

    Analogue terrestrial television was switched off in Finland on 1 September 2007.

    Luxembourg

    On 1 September 2006, Luxembourg became the first European country to transition completely to DTT.

    The Netherlands

    The Netherlands was the first country to complete the move to digital terrestrial broadcasting on December 11, 2006.

    Sweden

    The shutdown of the analogue service in Sweden started on September 19 2005 and was finished on October 15 2007.

    Vlaanderen
    The shutdown of the analog service will take place on November 3rd, 2008

    United States of America
    Except for low power repeaters and translators, all TV stations will cease analog operation on February 17th, 2009. (Network stations in major markets have been available terrestrially in HD since day one of their digital terrestrial broadcast.)

  • Mark N Pearson

    There is much to be said for digital television as we have long since switched to Freeview (via On Digital all those years ago!!)

    However, the bit rate and compression is obvious on some channels (eg Dave) even on my old 28inch CRT television, the quality on newer large screen tv’s must be dreadful. Is the public perception of digital is always better correct? No.

    With respect to radio, please leave well alone. I choose to listen on my old vintage valve sets to Radio 4 LW, short waves are slowly dying but there is still plenty to listen to out there. I also use a DAB radio for Planet Rock. But, the quality and reception of DAB are poor (compared to FM).

    Perhaps the dash to digital is more about control? I value the freedom to listen to analogue transmissions from across the world, without someone looking over my shoulder (internet).

    There is a place for internet, AM, FM and DAB broadcasting.

  • James Marshall

    Quoted from Mark N Pearson “Perhaps the dash to digital is more about control? I value the freedom to listen to analogue transmissions from across the world, without someone looking over my shoulder (internet).”

    I am glad I am not the only one with similar thoughts!!

    Both sound and vision quality using a digital box is rubbish, frequent crackling and jittery picture display – switch back to the analogue channels and it’s absolutely fine.

  • Martin Trollope

    Today we hear an announcement that analogue RADIO transmissions in the UK will be replaced by digital by 2015.

    Unsurprisingly there has been little comment on this, with all and sundry nodding their heads in sheep-like approval.
    No-one has even considered what this will mean in either the practical (millions of obsolete radios consigned to scrap) or the technical (the poor reception properties and technical INFERIOR system of digital transmission) terms.

    The whole game for digital radio is about money, not choice. The government gets to sell off a whole range of licences, whilst at the same time kidding everyone they are getting something better than they already have.

    I beggars belief how completely the population have swallowed this.

    Analogue shutdown will now be a breeze . The people have already been converted.

  • Alistair Ballantyne

    Replaced a perfectly clear FM radio with Pure DAB version. Reception in a so called good coverage area is appalling.
    So much for the hype around technology advance.
    You say you are against the change, which seems to offer the government an additional revenue stream, rather than give consumers improved technology, so what is anybody doing about it? Is there a body that people can join and present a dissenting voice to the government?

  • Simon James

    I live in a large town with a TV transmitter not too far away, we have had an upgraded TV aerial fitted, however, thganks to the latest upgrade shambles the indoor aerials on the digital TV’s no longer pick up any signals! As for the nonsense of being able to pick up more channels what for? looking at any weekday night there are only repeats of the crap which was on at the weekend anyway! for instance on ITV2 tonight is a showing of Harry Hills TV Burp – Saturdays edition already repeated once on Sunday, or on Film 4 ‘Million Dollar Baby’ shows for the 3rd time in as many weeks! It cost more and gives less – if its that good let the Emergenct=y services have it and let me stick to good old fashioned non pixelating analogue.

  • mark

    I am most unhappy with the proposed or enforced digital switch over which is going to rendour my collection of vintage radios usless, i have spent much time and money having some of my valve sets restored only to find they will be usless when the switch over happens , they after all do not have fm on them .I can only imagine living on the isle of wight that signals from digital will be bad with the wheather as when watching tv and bad wheather is here i have to watch analogue channles if i want a crystal clear pic.
    The implications from a green issue are horrendous ! and what about all those car radios being dumped too and people having to all these things
    How much is this going to all cost us the customer of electronics and the eviorment. ANAlogue should be along siode digital
    well thats me done

  • tom

    Hi everyone
    mark a friend of mine mentioned this site well i have to say i like him also have a collection of antique radio’s, my god i have spent a a small fortune on my radios having restored them and they really are quite fantastic,to make my lovley old radio collection useless after 80 odd years is a dreadful shame , most vinatge radios do not have fm or am if they do keep those bands.
    So thankyou goverment for you contribution, and is this enviormentaly friendly i think not!!!!
    I can’t see why both digital and analogue can’t be kept!
    DID YOU KNOW THAT DIGITAL RADIO’S COST MORE TO RUN ON BATTERYS THAN ANALOGUE SETS! ITS TRUE IS THAT GREEN, I THINK NOT!
    SO GET READY FOR BIGGER BILLS IN THE HOUSE ,

  • roger bishop

    When the analogue service is switched off and therefore the longwave radio 4 service ends what will happen about the shipping forecast?

  • Lucy

    I did not want digital tv, do not think the reasons for it (ie selling more airspace, more channels) was in any way justified, and now that we have had it forced upon us, it doesn’t bleedin work! I only want BBC & Channel 4 (the only channels which tend to have anything worth watching) and they often have ‘no signal’. A bloody load of rubbish. Maybe we should just turn off our tv and do something more useful/enjoyable instead.

  • richard

    I have a collection of old radios from the 1930s to the early 1960s i have spent loads restoring mine also.
    These radios are going to be worth little or nothing if analogue is switched off when in fact they are good for another 50 years use what am i suppose to do i ask myself with my lovely old collection.
    Digital is not good for the environment either it is not as pure as FM signals.
    The digital equipment can be as much as twelve times more juicy on energy ,think of all those battery’s for portable sets , not good for your pocket or the environment . What about all those millions of radios assigned to landfill this is disgusting and irresponsible in our so called greener age House hold bills will be far greater ! costing the environment and huge fuel bills at local energy stations
    digital signals and not as reliable as analogue signals just look at tv broadcasts in digital signal breaks! digital either works or it dont work Most people can tolerate a signal fade while listening to radio but a total break is that quality i dont think so

  • David Stanyard

    Digital is the worst thing by far to happen to British tv,3 or4 chanels showing the same programes all old,repeats over and over even the same day.Teletext very slow (any thats left).Ionly get to watch tv late at night so record earlyer tv when the switch over happens no more tv for me,can it be stoped?.

  • John Beyer

    Here in the good U. S. A. we have all ready switched to Digital,
    It’s the pits. Half of the time the signal brakes up, or we get
    (no signal) on many of our stations.
    The Government does not tell the truth when they want to do something.

  • Ian George Whatton

    Digital Switchover is a bad idea there will be no back up for when
    digital signals from transmitters fail like any other machine it has to have it failures keeping Analogue signals will act as a good back up if not switched off.

    They are wasting they money on improving Tv upgades and installing new Aerials ready for the digital swicthover “There is no such thing as a Digital Aerial” it is just an UHF Aerial that carries both analogue and digital and there is no need to buy the top of the range Tv. Aerial Installers and Manufacturers are just trying to making money out of people and conning us and unfortunatly the elderly, disabled and people on low incomes are vunerable ordering us to buy new Tvs, Audio and Video equipment
    and throw away our exhisting equipment which we have purchased the Anologue Tv Audio and Video.

    Since the Introduction of the Set top box digital has worked perfectly well with the Analogue Signals received through Aerials so do we really need to switchover I don’t think so.

    The UK Government justs wants more money out of people just to pay off the debt and there are using digital switchover as a means of getting their money.

    If they intend to switch every household to digital then they better reimburse everyone who exhisting Audio and Video Equipment so that householders can pay for the new Digital Equipment which is something that this government will never do.

  • James

    The switch over to digital TV is being forced upon the British public, who are already suffering in a time of economic decline. When the cut off date is passed, many will be left without a reception on their sets, not necessarily because they do not own a digital box. But more due to how flaky the digital service is, analogue might not be crystal clear picture, it might not have 40 channels (most of which are shopping channels), but it does work better for the majority.

    The environmental impact of providing people access to what I think is a poor service with poor content is disgusting. At a time of carbon awareness, we are filling land fills with working televisions, simply so we can get the extra shopping channels we never had need of before..I find it appalling.

  • Chris

    Hi all. It’s 26th August 2011 and we have been forced over to digital. All analogue services ceased on 17th August in our area and I suddenly find that all my Video’s (3 of varying brands and quality) no longer are useable for what they were designed for – i.e. time shifting of programs. As I turn off all equipment over night to save power unless I plan a late night recording I find that the clocks no longer work. They just sit there flashing 00-00. I presume this is becase they can only pick up a time signal fron the old analogue signals. A digibox connected to the scart socket will not do this clock input. SO WE HAVE BEEN LIED TO !!! It was suggested that if we connected a digibox then the equipment would continue to be useable.

    And another thing. All this idea of saving power and being “green” is a load of b******cks. Yes the transmitters are lower power but in order to ensure all digital equipment can have it’s internal software updated by the manufacturers overnight we are asked to leave them turned on in standby. Surely this is what the greeenies didn’t want us to do in the first place !!! 20 million homes in the UK each with say 3 digital equipments at least on “standby” is a lot of energy to waste.

    And another thing. The service breaks up all the time every time a “Gnat farts” in the household electrical system. We have put filter plugs on a lot of appliances to minimise this but the interferance gets through and breaks up the picture. We are less than about 15 miles from the Belmont transmitter and can see the aerial most of the time so don’t say “get a better aerial” – the TV sets already say we get a good signal. I doubt if the signal will or has been stepped up after analogue shut down as promised.

    And yet another thing. Lip / picture synchronisation. I have talked to the BBC some time ago about this. Some channels are worse or better than others. It seems the shopping channels get it right more often and the BBC/ITV/C4/C5 are the worst. I can not see how a live programme i.e. breakfast TV can often get so far out. It was suggested to me that the digital receiver manufacturer might be responsible for this in their software which should correct this but I doubt it, as, before we went digital the analogue TV transmissions still suffered this problem when the studios and links to the transmitters still exhibited this problem as they were digital.

    Yet, yet another thing. The content of all these myriad of channels. 98% of it is repeats over and over again. I mean, I like Die Hard but how many times per week on so many channels does it have to be shown. And, as for all the telesales channels well. What a load of irrelevant rubbish and purile dross.

    Finally, as several of the other contributors have said, it’s all about control. It is not easy to build your own digital transmitter / receiver whereas analogue ones are. Perhaps HM GOV. want things this way. The world seems to be all about “consumption of products” and we all have to keep selling boxes to the unsuspecting punters. As for DAB radio – well it’s been said already. I think this was invented to sell more batteries.

  • Adrian

    We used a set box box for quite a while with our analogue telly but the sound kept cutting out and sometimes cut out completely. This happened using two different set top boxes. Eventually we spent a lot of money on a new LCD telly. The picture is great…most of the time. This evening the picture occasionally turned to a mass of blocks and the sound was unintelligable. I was going to sell/dump the analogue TV but I may now keep it as it has always had a perfect picture. It is incredibly annoying spending money in the hope of curing a problem only to end up with a worse one.

    I live in a block of flats in Cheltenham and maybe upgrading the aerial would improve matters but I very much doubt the landlord will make any effort to upgrade the aerial. My girlfriend lives up in Liverpool in a flat and her digital TV reception is even worse, much of the time it is unwatchable.

    With the huge cuts the BBC is having to make I expect the transmiited signal will not be improved and the government will not pay for aerial upgrades throughout the country. Basically if we want an uninterrupted TV service we are all being forced to spend yet more money on cable or satellite subscription.

  • cynthia

    I would like to add my experience to the mix. I live in the United States where the switch to digital has already occurred. Those who warn of signal degradation are absolutely correct. While you might have more digital channels, you probably won’t be able to view them. Any inclement weather, and the signal becomes degraded. If a plane flies over your property (or nearby for the matter) be prepared to lose your signal. Moreover, most stations won’t broadcast with sufficient strength to service outlying areas. So, if you live in a rural area, you should probably consider investing in cable television.

    I understand why the migration to digital had to occur (to free up bandwidth for needed emergency transmissions), but little consideration was given to how this change would impact consumers. The switch has been a boon to cable and satellite providers and a burden to the rest of us.

  • Mike Lewis

    How dare the goverment make over 100 million radio sets useless at the flick of a switch!
    If they want it, then they should supply digital replacements free of charge, and exchange radio’s for people who will loose the use of their’s, especially the elderly, many of whome love the radio during the day.
    I know digital is supposed to be better, maybe it is, but I have satalite, and get picture break up, picture freeze in bad weather, and sometimes get a message on the screen stating I am not receiving a signal!
    Before digital,I never experienced any of these problems, just a few lines across the screen in really bad weather.

  • maria

    This switch over is so obviously under and. what about free choice not to be bombarded with channels with questionable content most times before the watershed and the free choice to watch channels without magnetic or electrical interruptions? The cost of running a digital radio is so much higher not to mention the cost of shipping selling or dumping the defunct televisions and radios.

  • tony

    right!! not happy with all this turning analog off !!..
    since it has been turned off our digital reception has gone from great to … PANTS!! before we were getting over 60 freeview channels with pin sharp pictures NOW!!! we are barly getting 20 or so channels ..!! with pixelated pictures that you cant even see what you are watching!! i think this so called great switch over has been the worst move our government has made this year ..

    i now have come to think this is another way that the/our government is getting us /the people to spend even more money on say like boosters and filters and stuff just to bring back a good picture !!!
    ya know what i say?? i say >>TURN IT BACK ON!!!! NOW!!!

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